Paperback / softback
September 22, 2003
9780801874147
English
168
8.00 Inches (US)
5.00 Inches (US)
.45 Pounds (US)
.45 Pounds (US)
$21.00 USD, £15.50 GBP
v2.1 Reference

Cake

Impressionistic and dreamlike, the stories in Cake explore the complexities of love and relationships in contemporary society. Linked by a sense of regret, these characters are at the mercy of their desires and uncertain longings, often with disastrous results. A young couple experiences town politics, group dynamics, and their own insecurities through a seemingly innocuous holiday ritual in "Snowflake." "Talent Show" introduces us to a series of unnamed women, their dreams and aspirations summed up in a few deceptively simple lines. One life leads into another, until we return to where we began, like a cinematic pan across a landscape of ambition gone awry.

The imagery in these compact and highly visual stories ranges from the everyday to the surreal. "Buena Vista Notebook" deftly blends language and word play with the story of doomed love affairs, culminating in a chance meeting that is random yet somehow not unexpected. And "Job" relates the story of what is perhaps the most unusual meeting of two naked people in recent fiction. Comic and yet sad, its hero experiences a moment of painful clarity in the most unlikely of circumstances.

Questions of identity, love, and the nature of existence may never be answered fully (in life or in fiction), but each of these stories presents a psychological turning point, often just a fleeting moment, sometimes more bitter than sweet. And in that moment the characters are brought that much closer to the answers to some of those questions. Emotionally taut and infused with poetic imagery, Cake is a bold debut and a portrait of the crisis of the modern relationship.

About the Author

Tristan Davies is Senior Lecturer at the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University. His work has appeared in Glimmer Train, Boulevard, The Mississippi Review, The Columbia Review, Snowflake, and Sundog.

Reviews

"Always intriguing, Tristan Davies's stories depend less on plotting than feeling, less on tangible images than impressionistic moments . . . For readers who would like to try stories that break the mold, Cake is a flavorful, filling offering."—Jean Blish Siers, Charlotte Observer

"Davies's prose technique is indeed dazzling, especially the ease with which he changes—with considerable originality but complete clarity—from one style to another as he moves from one story to another. Davies accurately portrays the behavior and thinking, such as it is, of the educated middle class that runs present-day Baltimore."—John Goodspeed, Star Democrat

"Davies is a damn good writer, possibly one of the best short story writers in contemporary lit. It's impossible to ignore a writer who's so poignant and poetic. Davies' wit and sophistication are just icing on the cake."—John Lewis, Baltimore Magazine

"Outstanding . . . Explores the emotional states of men and women prone to undefined yearning, failed relationships, and occasional employment . . . Cake, marked by elegant writing and lit by insight in detailing unexpected outcomes, easily persuades the reader to consume every slice."—Peter Skinner, ForeWord Magazine

"Davies is a damn good writer, possibly one of the best short story writers in contemporary lit. It's impossible to ignore a writer who's so poignant and poetic. Davies' wit and sophistication are just icing on the cake."—John Lewis, Baltimore Magazine

"In his debut collection of short stories, JHU Writing Seminars senior lecturer Tristan Davies explores the complexities of love and relationships in contemporary society in tales that are impressionistsic and dreamlike."—JHU Gazette

"While Davies' tales are at times bittersweet, they are never saccharine. Neither are the stories neatly tied up with string around a white cardboard box; many of his endings leave the true conclusion of the stories up to the reader's imagination."—Newswise

"Tristan Davies's fiction is a cross between John Cheever and Evelyn Waugh, with a bit of F. Scott Fitzgerald joined in. It's witty, urbane, funny, poignant, and sophisticated. He's a writer with a graceful and immediately readable style and an original, spirited, and incisive take on contemporary life. Cake is a strong and impressive literary debut."—Stephen Dixon

9780801874147 : cake-davies
Paperback / softback
168 Pages
$21.00 USD

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